Annual Pride parade in Asbury Park brings out 30,000 attendees
It was a big weekend for the group Garden State Equality to celebrate Pride Month.
The organization kicked off the weekend events with the annual Equality Ball Friday night. The event sold out 500 seats.
"The Equality Ball is the biggest fundraiser for this organization and supports our work in schools and older adult facilities - going out and making sure that people have access to housing and health care and employment,” says Garden State Equality executive director Christian Fuscarino. “And it's all possible because of this event."
The first weekend of Pride Month was celebrated in different towns across the state. But the official state celebration took place Sunday in Asbury Park. Fuscarino says that the parade marked a major milestone.
"The first Pride in New Jersey was celebrated 30 years ago, and as we gather this year on its 30th anniversary, it's been bigger than ever. Yesterday in Asbury Park we had over 30,000 people."
Fuscarino says that there were new faces at the celebrations this year – including more youth than ever before. He says that he hopes the events in June inspire the next generation to do more in their local communities.
"This Pride Month, it's important that we remember that we are trying to create a world for the next generation to grow up and feel safe and affirmed and have equality in the law,” Fuscarino says. “So many have sacrificed so much and yet our youth are growing up in a world that is telling them that they don't exist and that they shouldn't deserve the same rights. There's still so much more work to do."
More pride events are happening across New Jersey for the rest of the month.